West Cork Literary Festival – the highlights
I’ve just returned from almost a week in Ireland (a week during which the sun shone all day, every day from the bluest of skies – almost unheard of in the south of Ireland) and somehow, I’ve got to come down to earth. The week was filled with wonderful experiences but I’m going to try to distil them into four highlights:
Obviously the launch of the Fish anthology 2013 (held in Bantry as part of the West Cork Literary Festival) has to come first. It more than lived up to my expectations. The ten winners in four genres – short story, flash fiction, memoir and poetry – were invited to the launch to read their work. Some of the writers had travelled from as far away as New Zealand and America. The audience for the event was huge, and it was a privilege to be part of it.
My second highlight is a talk by the Irish writer Anne Enright. I’ve read her last two novels ‘The Gathering’ which won the Booker in 2007 and ‘The Forgotten Waltz’, shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2012, and enjoyed both of them. I found her talk fascinating, but two things in particular stuck in my mind (1) writer’s block is a product of the imagination; your novel is a product of the imagination. Why not let the novel win? (2) I don’t do much but try to write. I sit at my desk and most of the time nothing happens. About 2 pm, I get up a head of steam, but it doesn’t last long! Oh, and she doesn’t show her first drafts to anyone except her husband.
My third highlight is Bantry Bay itself, an exquisite bay – especially in glorious sunshine – tucked into south-west Ireland.
And my fourth highlight has to be the people. Warm, friendly, helpful, welcoming, unfailingly polite. Perfect – the word most often on their lips. And that describes my trip – perfect.Tags: Fish anthology 2013